The 2012 Landing Blitz has arrived at a boat landing near you! Between Friday June 29th and Sunday July 8th, hundreds of people are at boat launches on more than 200 lakes and rivers throughout Wisconsin! There they are conducting complementary boat inspections and educating boaters on steps to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Those boaters found practicing good boat hygiene are rewarded with a free towel with the message “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Inspect, Remove, Drain”. A popular but limited giveaway during the 2011 Landing Blitz, supplies this year increased thanks to a grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative through the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The growing popularity of the Landing Blitz is also demonstrated by the growth from last year’s total of 90 lakes to over 200 in 50 counties this year. The reach of the Landing Blitz extends from Walworth County on our southern border to the northern most county of Bayfield. Similarly, the Landing Blitz extends from Lake Michigan to counties along the Mississippi River. The lake-rich northern counties and those in the Great Lakes watershed are especially well-represented (for a bigger map, click here).
The people participating in the Landing Blitz come from all walks of life, from Boy Scouts to retirees. Also taking part are lake associations, other non-profit groups, staff of villages, counties, resource conservation districts,University of Wisconsin Extension and the Department of Natural Resources. Despite the diversity of people, their motivation is the same: to protect their beautiful lakes from being harmed by the accidental introduction of aquatic invasive species.
Simple steps such as inspecting watercraft entering or leaving a lake, removing any attached plants or animals, and draining all water from bilges and live wells greatly reduce the chances of accidentally transporting these pests.
Many groups are already working with their local media outlets to get the word out about their Landing Blitz efforts. So, keep an eye open for a Landing Blitz near you and inspect, remove and drain!